What are some ways to reduce the population of Varroa mites in honey bee colonies, without the use of pesticides?

Mite-resistant Bees. In response to development of resistance to chemical miticides, and in order to provide more sustainable mite management, honey bees have been selectively bred for resistance to, or tolerance of, Varroa. There are two known mechanisms of resistance: hygienic behavior and suppression of mite reproduction (SMR). Hygiene is the removal of diseased (including mite-parasitized) brood by workers; SMR is the reduction in reproduction of female mites within brood cells. Types of resistant queens include; Minnesota Hygienic, the Russian …

Honey Bee Viruses, the Deadly Varroa Mite Associates

Adult bees with deformed wings resulting from DWV. If your bees have Varroa, your bees have viruses. 

Authors: Philip A. Moore, Michael E. Wilson, and John A. Skinner
Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology, the University of Tennessee, Knoxville TN
Originally Published: August 21, 2014


Varroa mites (Varroa spp.) are a ubiquitous parasite of honey bee (Apis spp.) colonies. They are common nearly everywhere honey bees are found, and every beekeeper should assume they have a Varroa infestation, if they are in a …

Managed Pollinator CAP Update: RNAi for Treating Honey Bee Diseases

CAP Update December 2012: RNAi for Treating Honey Bee Diseases


RNAi for Treating Honey Bee Diseases

Author: Yanping (Judy) Chen and Jay D. Evans, USDA-ARS Beltsville Bee Research Laboratory, Beltsville, MD 20705

Originally Jointly Published: American Bee Journal and Bee Culture, Decemeber 2012


      Many ground-breaking discoveries in science have occurred through serendipity. RNA interference (RNAi), a natural process to turn off gene activity in plants and animals is one of the many serendipitous discoveries that involved a mix of …

Has research been done on honey bees comparing 5.4 mm comb cell size with 4.9 mm? I have heard that small cell (4.9 mm) beekeeping can control varroa mites.

Below is a listing of research into European honey bees on small cell combs. Three of the articles (1, 2, and 5) deal with small cell and varroa mites. All three conclude that small cell does not help the bees deal with varroa mites, or otherwise reduce varroa mite numbers. Article #3 shows that small cell combs do not reduce tracheal mites. Study #4 is unrelated to small cell’s effect on parasitic mites and shows that smaller combs do result …

What is causing the decline of honey bee populations?

The population decline of honey bees started in this country in the mid 1980’s when two new parasitic mites were introduced. Most of our bees have pretty good resistance now to one of these, the tracheal mite, but there are still some bees killed by them. The Varroa mite continues to kill our bees. We use plastic strips with chemicals in our hives to kill the mites. They have virtually wiped out the feral honey bees and the number of …